"Rape victim’s lawsuit properly thrown out, appeals court rules; Attack in state hospital not state’s fault, justices opine" by John R. Ellement Globe Staff April 12, 2017
A woman raped by a man while both were patients in a locked unit at Tewksbury State Hospital cannot sue the state for damages, even though she became pregnant and then suffered a miscarriage, a state court ruled Wednesday.
A majority of the Massachusetts Appeals Court concluded that part of a state law known as the Massachusetts Tort Claims Act shields the government and government workers when they are not the “original cause” of the injury.
The woman was assaulted by a male patient in a recreation room at the hospital, not by a state worker or as the result of a government policy, the majority ruled, saying her lawsuit was properly thrown out by a Superior Court judge.
“We do not think it is a fair inference that by merely allowing both men and women access to a common recreation room, the hospital was an original cause of the plaintiff’s rape,” Judge Diana Maldonado wrote for the majority. “The hospital made a reasoned decision, which is not at issue here, that the male patient posed no risk of sexual assault.’’
Joining the majority were Appeals Court Chief Justice Scott L. Kafker and Elspeth B. Cypher, who has since joined the Supreme Judicial Court.
Two judges dissented, concluding that because managers at the state hospital separated men and women by gender for sleeping purposes but allowed shared access to the recreation room, the state created the environment that allowed for the rape to take place.
“An affirmative decision by a public employer, not just a failure to act, played a significant role in placing a vulnerable plaintiff in harm’s way,’’ Judge Gregory I. Massing wrote in the dissent. The “decision materially contributed to the situation that resulted in the plaintiff’s being in that room, wearing a hospital gown because her only clothes were in the wash, when a male patient raped her.’’
According to the court, the woman — known by the pseudonym of Jane J. — was ordered by a District Court judge to undergo a mental health competency evaluation in 2009. She was sent to the Tewksbury facility, where she was placed in the Hathorne Unit, a locked ward.
The man was also ordered by a judge to undergo a competency evaluation and was assigned to the Hathorne unit, the court said. The Department of Mental Health checked his criminal history and saw no evidence of sexual assaults, although he had a history of assaults, the court said. He was not listed on the Sex Offender Registry Board.
According to the court, patients of all genders were allowed to jointly use the recreation room, which included a ping pong table, a television set, and access to a sunroom, where a second television was located, the court said.
Staff members checked the area every 30 minutes. No surveillance cameras were installed.
The court papers do not say whether the man was criminally prosecuted.
According to the court, the woman became pregnant but later suffered a miscarriage.
While the judges disagreed on the legal issue before them, all five agreed on the general proposition that the state “bears a special responsibility for the safety and general well-being of those who have been involuntarily committed to state psychiatric facilities.’’
"AP Investigation: UN troops lured kids into Haiti sex ring" by Paisley Dodds Associated Press April 12, 2017
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — The Haitian girl known Victim No. 1 was 12 when she first was sexually assaulted by a Sri Lankan peacekeeper participating in a child sex ring.
These ops up from time to time, but my elite pre$$ rarely scratches the surface or digs deep (unless the offenders are dead private school professors).
The boy, known as Victim No. 9, was 15 when his ordeal began. Over three years, he said he was assaulted by more than 100 Sri Lankan peacekeepers, averaging about four a day.
From 2004 to 2007, nine Haitian children were exploited by the sex ring, which involved at least 134 Sri Lankan peacekeepers, according to a UN report obtained by The Associated Press.
First the Nepalese bring cholera with them, and then the Sri Lankans rape the kids. No wonder Haitians run when they see the U.N. coming.
Under Haitian law, having sexual intercourse with someone under 18 is statutory rape. UN codes of conduct also prohibit exploitation.
Often the children were given cookies or a few dollars when peacekeepers raped them. Although 114 of the peacekeepers were sent home, none was ever jailed for the abuse.
Justice for victims is rare. An Associated Press investigation of UN missions during the past 12 years found an estimated 2,000 allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation by peacekeepers and UN personnel around the world — signaling the crisis is much larger than previously known. More than 300 of the allegations involved children, the AP found, but only a fraction of the alleged perpetrators were jailed.
In March, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres announced new measures to tackle peacekeeper misconduct. But the proclamation had a depressingly familiar ring: More than a decade ago, the United Nations commissioned a report that promised to do much the same thing, yet most of the reforms never materialized.
For a full two years after those promises were made, the children in Haiti were passed around from soldier to soldier. And in the years since, peacekeepers have been accused of sexual abuse the world over.
(Blog editor is aghast)
Senator Bob Corker, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has been calling for reforms in the United Nations for more than a year.
‘‘If I heard that a UN peacekeeping mission was coming near my home in Chattanooga,’’ he told AP, ‘‘I’d be on the first plane out of here to go back and protect my family.’’
The Haitian children had made a home for themselves at Habitation Leclerc, a resort was once well-known throughout Port-au-Prince as a lush refuge
By 2004, the resort was a decrepit clutch of buildings and several children, either orphaned or abandoned by their parents, were living in its ruins.
That was way before the earthquake.
It was there that the girl identified as Victim No. 1, or V01, met other children in the same straits: two young girls referred to in the UN report as ‘‘V02’’ and ‘‘V03,’’ and a young boy, ‘‘V08.’’
The peacekeepers had arrived that year as part of a new mission to help stabilize the country in the wake of President Jean-Bertrande’s ouster.
In August 2007, the UN received complaints of ‘‘suspicious interactions’’ between Sri Lankan soldiers based near the resort and Haitian children.
V02, who was 16 when the UN team interviewed her, told them she was raped by a Sri Lankan commander at least three times. V04, who was 14, said she was raped every day by the soldiers, who gave her money, cookies or juice.
The boy, V08, said he was raped by more than 20 Sri Lankans. Most would remove their name tags before taking him to trucks.
‘‘The sexual acts described by the nine victims are simply too many to be presented exhaustively in this report, especially since each claimed multiple sexual partners at various locations where the Sri Lankan contingents were deployed throughout Haiti over several years,’’ the report said.
Ten years later after the close of the UN investigation, UN officials said they were unable to find any members of the mission in Haiti who might have dealt with victims in the sex ring case and did not know what happened to the children.
Like the D.C. girls, although they did find one.
How can they not have found any of the soldiers?
I suppose just surviving day-to-day is a victory in Haiti.
It's Somalia West only worse.
"Prosecutor: ‘Manchester by the Sea’ inspired duo to kill son" AP April 12, 2017
NORWICH, N.Y. — A couple decided to kill their disabled adoptive son and cover up the crime with a house fire after watching the Oscar-winning movie ‘‘Manchester by the Sea,’’ in which a couple’s children perish in a house fire that’s deemed accidental, according to a prosecutor handling the case.
Chenango County District Attorney Joseph McBride said during a bail hearing for Ernest and Heather Franklin last week that 16-year-old Jeffrey Franklin was killed within hours of the couple watching the film on Feb. 28. McBride said an examination showed the teen died before the fire.
The Franklins are charged with murder, arson, and tampering with physical evidence.
Ernest Franklin’s public defender, John Cameron, said it’s unclear whether the movie had any relevance.
McBride noted that a character in the movie is told that a person can’t be prosecuted for accidentally killing their children.
‘‘Within two hours of that movie playing to this defendant and her husband, Jeffrey’s deceased,’’ McBride said during Friday’s bail hearing....
I heard it wasn't that good.
Also see: Child dies at unlicensed Sturbridge day care center
NEXT DAY UPDATES:
"UN votes to end to Haiti peacekeeping mission in mid-October" by Edith M. Lederer Associated Press April 13, 2017
UNITED NATIONS — The Security Council voted unanimously Thursday to end the UN peacekeeping mission in Haiti in mid-October after 13 years, sending a strong signal that the international community believes the impoverished Caribbean nation is stabilizing after successful elections.
The peacekeepers helped normalize a country in chaos after political upheaval in 2004 and a devastating 2010 earthquake that killed as many as 300,000 people — including the head of the UN mission itself — as well as Hurricane Matthew, which caused widespread devastation in October.
But they also leave under a cloud. UN troops from Nepal are widely blamed for introducing cholera that has killed at least 9,500 people in Haiti since 2010. And some troops also have been implicated in sexual abuse, including of hungry young children, an issue reported on Wednesday by The Associated Press.
The resolution creates a follow-on peacekeeping mission for an initial period of six months comprising 1,275 police who will continue training the national police force. The new mission will also assist the government in strengthening judicial and legal institutions ‘‘and engage in human rights monitoring, reporting and analysis.’’
So the occupation isn't really ending, is it?
The United Nations has been involved in Haiti on and off since 1990. A 2004 rebellion had the country on the brink of collapse, leading to deployment of the UN force, and Haiti has been trying to get its shaky democracy on a firmer foundation ever since.
A political crisis and ensuing street protests stemming from a repeatedly derailed 2015 electoral cycle again threatened the stability of the country, but an elected president and lawmakers are now in place.
The Security Council resolution recognized the recent elections as a ‘‘major milestone towards stabilization.’’ But it also said international support is needed to strengthen, professionalize and reform the police, promote economic development and face the ‘‘significant humanitarian challenges’’ following Hurricane Matthew, which struck in October.
They still haven't cleaned up the rubble from 2010, nor have the people been moved out of tents and into housing.
The council’s decision was met with conflicting emotions in Haiti, where many fear that dark days of instability will return after the foreign soldiers depart. ‘‘The reason why we don’t have a lot of trouble these days is because the UN people are still around. But once they take off, opportunities will open up for Haitians with guns to make things crazy again,’’ said Gary Guerre, a 27-year-old bank clerk.
At least the kids won't be, you know.
But many Haitian citizens have always seen the multinational peacekeepers as an occupying force and an affront to national sovereignty. ‘‘They should have been out of here a long time ago. I don’t see how they’ve been helping Haiti at all. I just see them drive by here like they are on a holiday,’’ said Jean Wilnive, who sells live poultry near a bustling Port-au-Prince intersection.
Maybe they are!
Also see: UN experts condemn killing, torture of gay men in Chechnya